The rise in comfortable fraternization between opposing players has long annoyed traditionalists in the baseball, basketball and football worlds, and John Tortorella is dismayed to see hockey follow suit.
The Blue Jackets coach spoke about the topic prior to Thursday’s 7-4 win over the Blues, lamenting the lack of meanness in the game today.
“The game’s changed, and for some dinosaurs that are in it, it’s very frustrating, I have to admit,” Tortorella told reporters. “I’m not joking about it, it’s really frustrating to me — conversations on the ice among opponents on a faceoff, it’s like a big hug-fest sometimes. I don’t know if they have so many meetings with the NHLPA and all that stuff that goes on, but there’s no hate, and I miss that. It frustrates the s— out of me, quite honestly.”
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The 60-year-old coach has a well-established track record of speaking his mind and said he has even asked his players at times to “just pretend” they don’t like the guys on the other team.
“Listen, I know I’m kind of beating my head against the wall as far as where I want the game,” he said. “… I think there’s been some great changes to the game, but damn I miss the old-school, I’m-comin’-at-ya. We’ll have a beer after, but do we have to talk about it on the ice right now? That’s sickening to me, quite honestly.”